INDIANAPOLIS — Now that the Indianapolis Colts' 2019 season is over, it's time to reflect on what can be taken from the year and the accomplishments that players and the team made.
With awards season about to go into full swing, Pro Football Focus has released its First and Second All-Pro Teams, and appearing on the list are a couple of names from the backbone of the Colts: the offensive line.
Quenton Nelson was named PFF's First-Team All-Pro left guard, while Anthony Castonzo was named PFF's second-team left tackle.
QUENTON NELSON | FIRST-TEAM LEFT GUARD
Per PFF: "By the end of his rookie season, Quenton Nelson was already playing like the best guard in football, and this year he backed that up with an entire season of stellar play. Nelson didn't give up a sack all season despite blocking for a quarterback with a tendency to hold onto the ball too long and invite more pressure than he should. His run blocking was also as dominant as you would expect, and the Colts should expect a series of All-Pro spots over the coming years."
In his second season, Nelson dominated his way atop PFF's grades all year. As a rookie, he was named Second-Team All-Pro by PFF, and now he gets the upgrade to First-Team. His overall grade in 2019 of 91.2 is much higher than last year's 76.7, especially as a run blocker (73.7 grade in 2018 compared to 90.1 in 2019).
PFF credited Nelson with just three penalties committed on the season, and 20 total quarterback pressures allowed — 18 hurries, two hits and not a single sack.
He was one of just 13 guards to have three or fewer penalties, one of five guards to not allow a sack and one of eight guards to allow 20 or fewer pressures. Among all offensive linemen, Nelson was one of 24 to allow 20 or fewer pressures and one of nine to allow no sacks.
Nelson received the second-highest overall PFF grade in 2019 among guards, and he was the top left guard. His 82.8 pass-blocking grade was sixth among guards, and his 90.1 in run blocking was second.
The second-year human highlight reel led a Colts rushing attack that ranked fifth in the NFL in carries per game (29.4), tied for fifth in run plays of 20-plus yards (14), seventh in rushing (133.1 YPG), tied for ninth in run plays of 40-plus yards (three), tied for 10th in rushing touchdowns (17), and tied for 11th in yards per carry (4.5).
PFF graded the Colts offense as the second-best run-blocking unit in the league with an 85.1 grade.
ANTHONY CASTONZO | SECOND-TEAM LEFT TACKLE
According to PFF, Castonzo had the third-best season of his nine-year career in 2019 with an 81.2 grade, earning him a spot on their All-Pro Second-Team.
He registered just two penalties, making him the least-penalized full-time offensive tackle in the league. Overall, he was one of only 14 NFL offensive linemen to have two or fewer penalties. Castonzo allowed 34 pressures in pass protection — 26 hurries, five hits and three sacks. He was one of just 19 tackles to allow 34 or fewer pressures, and one of 12 to allow three or fewer sacks.
Castonzo finished as the No. 5-ranked offensive tackle and No. 2 left tackle. His 84.4 pass-blocking grade ranked sixth among tackles (and was the second-highest of his career), and his 70.2 run-blocking grade finished eighth.
Like Nelson, Castonzo was recognized as one of the top overall linemen, not just a quality player at his position. He was the ninth-ranked offensive lineman, finishing No. 13 in pass-blocking and 23rd in run-blocking.
Castonzo was the blind-side protector for a Colts' offense that tied for ninth in fewest sacks allowed (32), and PFF credited it as the 11th-best pass-blocking unit in the NFL with a grade of 75.1.
On Monday, Castonzo spoke with members of the media and acknowledged that he will be weighing his future this offseason as far as playing football is concerned. Colts head coach Frank Reich and general manager Chris Ballard made sure to let Castonzo know about his critical importance to the team.
"I spoke with him this morning. I know Chris talked to him. We just made no bones about it, 'We want you as our left tackle. We are going to respect you and your decision to think about what you want to think about, but there is no one else we envision being our left tackle,'" Reich said. "We think he had an unbelievable year. I think he is the best left tackle in the league, I really do. I mean I think this guy is a stud player. I think he had his best year of his career and I am looking forward to hopefully getting him back. But he has not shared anything with me about what he is going to decide or how he is going to process through that decision. We all need a little space. We all need a little space, it's an emotional year."